233 Country House Rd., Clark boro, NJ 08020
The piston beats a steady throb,
The crank-pin sighs and heaves,
And as the mad eccentrics start
Their quarrelling on the sheaves,
Then at its time, its appointed time,
The rocking link abides,
Till, 'Hear that note', the crank
And goes whimmering through the
I cannot remember where I learned this, nor who wrote it, but it says in a very concise way much more than I could write on two full pages. It describes in detail what people saw and, I feel sure, the memories they took home with them.
Traction engines being the major item at any show, we were well stocked. There were some forty of them on the grounds and about thirty participated in the Parade of Power. Two engines I must mention that were new to us were Ben King's 60 HP 1910 Geiser UU, numbered 14764, and LeRoy Walker's 22 HP 1927 John Goodison, numbered 2602.
To say a few words about the Geiser, it is a very clean and impressive machine, nicely painted and lined, and fitted with a typical period headlight. How the young fellow operating it could drive it backwards through the parade with a trailer full of tobacco bed steaming apparatus, I don't know. Takes me all my time to drive the old Buffalo roller backwards with no trailer.
The Goodison engine is also a clean and well-painted machine, not too much lining but with it all in the right places. On the right side of the smoke-box is a wheel which I'm told is a four position blast nozzle adjustment. This engine on the sawmill seemed to spin the blade effortlessly, and the sound of its exhaust as the log went under the saw was a delight to hear. Who said 'Let's stop sawing shingles and get some logs on there?'
The Wallis and Stevens English showman's engine did not run this year, and sat so forlorn down by the fence. I wish I had gone up earlier in the week and polished the brass as I did periodically through the winter. Polishing those twisted square columns takes me back to so many years ago when I lived in the town of Holt, Norfolk, England. K. Gray's fair used to come to Holt periodically and if us kids helped polish the brass on the round-a-bouts (carousel to you Yankees) we could get a couple or so rides free. I always thought that when I left school I would like to go into the 'Tobers' (carnival), but never did. A few years later I found myself polishing the brass in the engine room of one of His Majesty's Ships, but that's another story.
The emphasis this year was placed on the Minneapolis Moline line of equipment. I must say that the tractors presented in the exhibit were in a grand state of preservation. I do think we should have had a couple more steamers though, for I'm sure there are more than one in the area. I'm told that next year will be the Case line, so Helen, get yourself an engineer's hat.
Little Toot appeared in better fettle, taking full loads and working fairly well, as we went over her valve gear this past winter. To you old engine men, you know the exhaust doesn't sound right. Well, it's not because the valve needs timing but because during the casting of the left side cylinder block the ports were not made quite equal. It may be possible this winter to make a plate of ' thick cast iron and sandwich it between the original valve face and the steam chest, with gaskets of course, and longer bolts. The drive rod for the valve would also have to be altered by adding a fork joint.
Our other railway, the Shay, must have logged many miles for it ran continuously, and always with a passenger car load. The young man who rebuilt it last year must have done a wonderful job and we thank him greatly.
I must not forget to mention the new Cleaver-Brooks 200 HP automatic boiler. It is now housed in a beautiful metal building and supplied power during the show for the several engines inside the main engine room. I have not mentioned for some time the engines that are housed within our M.E.R., so here is a rundown.
Coming in from what I will call the front end, to the left and in the corner is the Ames Uniflow generator. Running down still on the left is the large steam pump and two Corliss engines; one came from a knitting mill and the other from Swarthmore College. Ed Margarum's single cylinder double crank engine is by the Corliss, and farther down is the large Watts & Campbell 20 by 48. After this comes a very old horizontal of about six or eight inch bore, and several more smaller ones. Rick Gockenoer has restored one of these and it looks wonderful. Getting now to the lower left corner we find a compressor and pumps from the late Becker dairy farms of Caldwell, NJ. Mr. Becker had quite a live steam railroad some years back, all in two inch scale which was called the Centerville & Southwestern. I still have a booklet of this.
Coming back to the front end, and on the right, is the large York ammonia refrigerator compressor. Next, the Skinner Uniflow generator from the White Star Laundry, Pitman, NJ, and the large Bipolar Edison generator. A new addition of which I have no history is a triple expansion compound that is quite unusual. It has a camshaft like a regular internal combustion engine to operate its valves. At a guess it's a good ten foot high but not marine. Alongside is an O&S boiler engine unit belted to a butter churn. Right behind is a large Westinghouse generator and down in the pit is the extremely large 'Snow' pumping engine which is slowly but surely becoming operative. I believe it once pumped water for the city of York. There are also three or four other old and unrestored engines in front of the Snow that are quite recent additions, but I have no information on them either.
Don't ask me how they are all run with one 200 HP boiler. Well, they are not, as at various times one is shut down and another started. Usually three men I know of work in this main engine room: Rick, Rudy, and Jim Conte. I've seen a couple more fellows in there too but I don't know them.
I feel I must not omit from this issue the gauge 1 model railway boys, for they put on quite an interesting exhibit. The track they used was elevated at about thirty inches high, and the whole taking up about 30' by 15' area. The little steam locos running were Hudsons, K-4's, 4-4-0, and I couldn't tell you all of them. The two Quirk brothers were responsible for the whole setup with a little help from Rudy Kouhoupt and Bob Moser, both of the N. J. L. S., and with whom I'm associated. There were also two boys from the Pennsylvania Live Steamers too must not leave them out. At the top end of the layout sat my latest creation, a 1' scale, 7 gauge coal-fired version of Strasburg's Number 90, 2-10-0.
Saturday evening I was asked if, during the parade, I would stop the roller by the grandstand as the announcer wished to tell the folks a little of its history. This I did, only to be asked off the machine and, to my great surprise, given the President's Trophy. Each year this is done, but I had no inclination that I would be chosen. I certainly appreciate it, guys, and you certainly pulled a fast one on me! Mr. President and your band of directors, thanks again.
To sum up, all activities went well. There was square dancing on good Buffalo steamrolled dirt, good entertainment with steam engine games, and plenty of fodder for the human boiler. There were old cars and organs, gas engines and gas tractors, horses, mules and oxen, and people, and people, and people. Woo-Woo-Whup! 'Til next year!
Also, a short report on the fall show, 'A Time of Harvest', helc October 9 & 10, 1987. Friday was ar excellent day and the number of patrons was very surprising. I think women would get more enjoyment from this performance rather than the summer reunion, as it deals more with the culinary side of living: apple butter, apples being crushed for cider, weaving, and candle making, etc., with several old washing machines chugging away.
Saturday was also a grand fall day with good patronage. We even held a little parade as there were about eight or ten of us steamers ready to go with several tractors following. All in all, quite a nice little gathering, not forgetting the Friday evening picture night.